Jimmy Carter Leads U.S. Walkout at Reception in Zimbabwe With AM-Foreign-Fourth, Bjt
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) _ Former President Jimmy Carter led a walkout of diplomats from a Fourth of July reception Friday after a Zimbabwean minister attacked U.S. policy on South Africa.
Carter and Charge d’Affaires Edward Lanpher led about 40 Americans from the reception room after Minister of Youth David Karimanzira denounced U.S. and British foreign policy. Karimanzira accused Washington of indirectly supporting South African ″terrorism.″
More than 20 other diplomats, among them Britons and West Germans, joined the Americans in striding from the reception at the Meikles Hotel, where the Americans were host.
″It was offensive,″ Lanpher said later when asked about Karimanzira’s comments. He declined further comment.
Carter was not immediately available for comment after the episode.
″It was astonishing,″ said one Western diplomat who attended the reception and was among those who walked out.
″It was gratuitously rude, especially with Carter present, who has probably done more for Africa than any other American president,″ said the diplomat, who spoke on condition that he not be identified.
Karimanzira’s comments were from a prepared speech he read on behalf of the government of Prime Minister Robert Mugabe.
″American policy toward South Africa is devoid of the milk of human kindness,″ he said. ″What we have heard is platitudes and apologies only for apartheid South Africa.″
He called on the United States to accept mandatory and comprehensive sanctions against South Africa as the only reasonable way to bring about an end to the white-led government in Pretoria.
Karimanzira spoke as part of an exchange of toasts with Lanpher minutes after Carter praised Zimbabwe for joining in the United States’ commitment to development and human rights in Africa.
The former president arrived in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, Thursday night from Accra, Ghana, for a 36-hour stopover. He was to leave Saturday for London.
Carter was in Harare to meet local bankers to discuss a development project known as Global 2000. Officials have not released any details on the project.
Zimbabwean relations with the United States, its chief donor, have been strained, chiefly over the Reagan administration’s policy of constructive engagement with South Africa.
The United States has given Zimbabwe $363 million in bilateral aid since Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain in 1980, but the level of U.S. aid to Zimbabwe has dropped markedly from its high of $75 million in 1982.
David C. Miller cut short his tour as U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe in April, reportedly because of frustrations in dealing with Mugabe’s government.
At an official farewell luncheon for Miller, Foreign Minister Witness Mangwende accused the United States of trying to buy Zimbabwe support for Washington’s policies in southern Africa.
Zimbabwe has accused the United States of funding Radio Truth, a clandestine station in South Africa that broadcasts propaganda of rebel movements in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Angola.
Zimbabwe also has charged that the CIA supports armed dissidents fighting Mugabe’s government in southern Matabeleland province.
Miller said that both charges had ″no factual basis,″ but caused great concern in Washington and brought official protests, which Harare ignored.